SONG: LONG BEFORE THE NIGHT by CAROLYN McDADE
Long before she wrapped her bleeding arms around a child, there was a love, and this aching love rolls on.
Long Before the Night (This Ancient Love) is a song by American hymn writer, Carolyn McDade. It is part of the United Church of Canada’s current hymnal, Voices United. Its use of vivid imagery, drawing inspiration from nature and our real, human, and sometimes painful relationships, makes it one of my very favourite hymns.
I recorded this song (rather impromptu) live off the floor in my living room, late at night on Holy Saturday. Whereas Good Friday commemorates Jesus’ death by state-sanctioned execution, on Holy Saturday we stand vigil. We grieve. We lament the pain of the world. We take stock. We wonder where we go from here after our map has been consumed. We search for meaning. We search for a “why”. We search for hope – hope that maybe death is not the last word.
Carolyn McDade’s beautiful poetry reminds us that we have been here before. We will be here again. And still, God’s aching love rolls on.